By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Dyson aims to be top of mind when it comes to design innovation, which is why the company sponsors the Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award. This year South Australian student Michael Ng won for his design to make crutches more comfortable.

In addition to his first place cash prize, Ng will travel to the UK to visit the Dyson Research Design and Development Centre, home of inventor and engineer James Dyson, and take part in the James Dyson Award, an international student design competition into which his walking aides design has been entered.

“James Dyson is particularly passionate about design, innovation and technology; all three of which are represented in Dyson products,” said Dyson Australia managing director, Ross Cameron.

“The aim of running awards such as the Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award is to educate, support and highlight the importance of great design in our daily lives. In being part of the Australian International Design Awards, we are also providing students with the opportunity to showcase their work and take the next step in their career. These young designers will be designing the products that make our lives easier in the future.”

When it comes to taking that next career step, none put their best foot forward like the silver award winner, Alicia Mintzes from the University of New South Wales.

Mintzes developed ‘Sharpsafe’, a community needle disposal bin for injection drug users that utilises material and technology to improve safety aspects, and design to enable a better, non-threatening, fit in public spaces.

Mintzes was hired by Nielsen Design, which is a leading Australian design house.

“This is great news and reinforces for us the importance of giving our top Australian student designers the opportunity to network with the industry,” added Cameron.

Ng’s crutches design was commended by judges for solving the simple problem of crutches being uncomfortable.

The bronze prize was awarded to Brook Tait-Styles from the University of Technology Sydney for PV-1 Exhaust Fume Filtration Unit — a portable unit to protect mechanics and at-home car enthusiasts from potentially harmful exhaust fumes.

A highly commended prize was awarded to Mark Antony Sorrenti, also from the University of Technology Sydney for S.A.M. Brace; a post operative shoulder rehabilitation brace that allows controlled movement for faster full rehabilitation.

The Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award has been running for seven years; past winners have gone on to secure positions with leading Australian and international design houses including Ford Motors (US), CMD Product Design & Innovation (Australia) and Yamaha (Japan).

Winners of the Australian Design Award-Dyson Student Award are automatically entered into the James Dyson Award, a global student initiative of the James Dyson Foundation.